Back grey_arrow_rt.gif
Expand Medicaid to HIV+ with Low Income ETHA Bill Introduced
  Reps. Introduce Bill To Expand Medicaid Coverage to Some HIV-Positive People
Engel/Pelosi/Ros-Lehtinen Introduce Early Treatment for HIV Act
March 19, 2009
Washington, D.C.--Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) re-introduced the Early Treatment for HIV Act" (ETHA) on Thursday to allow states to extend Medicaid coverage to low-income individuals with the HIV virus before it advances to full-blown AIDS. Currently, most lower-income persons must first become disabled by AIDS before receiving Medicaid provided care and treatment, which could have prevented them from becoming seriously ill, and at which point treatment is far more expensive.
There are 44 original co-sponsors of the legislation, including an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. The following are the original co-sponsors of the Early Treatment for HIV Act - Democrats are listed in regular font, Republicans are in italics:
Baldwin, Biggert, Bono Mack, Capps, Castle, Christensen, DeGette, Dent, L. Diaz- Balart, M. Diaz-Balart, Doyle, Ehlers, Emerson, ENGEL, Frelinghuysen, Garrett, Gonzalez, Gordon, G. Green, Harman, Hinchey, Inslee, P. King, Kirk, Lance, Latham, LoBiondo, Markey, Matsui, McCotter, McHugh, Pallone, Paul, PELOSI, Rangel, ROS-LEHTINEN, Rush, Schakowsky, Sessions, C. Smith, Stark, Upton, Waxman, Weiner.
Rep.. Engel, a senior member of the Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee said, "Treating patients with HIV is more cost effective for the federal government since it is much more expensive to treat patients with AIDS than HIV. More importantly, it will also save lives while preserving the quality of life for thousands of persons living with HIV. As Congress works towards comprehensive health reform, passage of ETHA is a solid step towards modernizing the Medicaid program. This is sensible and humane public policy at its best. It will also save people's lives."
"Treating patients with HIV will preserve the quality of life for thousands of Americans. It is also more cost effective for the federal government since it is much more expensive to treat patients with AIDS than HIV. As Congress works towards comprehensive health reform, passage of ETHA is a solid step towards modernizing the Medicaid program. This is sensible and humane public policy at its best. It will also save people's lives," added Rep. Engel.
This is sensible and humane public policy at its best that will save people's lives," added Rep. Engel.
Rep.. Ros-Lehtinen, said, "It makes no sense that a person must develop full blown AIDS before Medicaid can treat them. This legislation would remedy this by giving states the option to extend Medicaid coverage to low income persons so that they can confront their HIV before it becomes AIDS and thus help them from becoming terminally ill and a burden on their families and the public health system. I urge my colleagues to help us pass this bill and correct this cruel and nonsensical system."
The proposed legislation has been endorsed by leading public health advocacy groups including the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, the AIDS Institute, Human Rights Campaign, AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families, the New York City AIDS Coalition and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. (For a full list of endorsements, see the list below)
Medicaid coverage for people living with HIV is now contingent on two factors; qualifying as low income and meeting the Social Security definition of disability. This means uninsured HIV Positive people, outside of the Ryan White CARE ACT, must wait for their health status to be compromised beyond repair, to deteriorate to full-blown AIDS, before they can get healthcare coverage under Medicaid.
"This defies logic as current federal guidelines call for early access to medical care and treatment including the use of combination antiretroviral therapy,' said Rep. Engel.
ETHA gives states the option of amending their Medicaid eligibility requirements to include uninsured, pre-disabled low-income people living with HIV. ETHA is modeled after the successful Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act (BCCA) that allows states to provide early access to Medicaid to women with cancer. As with the BCCA, participating states would receive an enhanced federal matching rate, the same that is provided through the breast and cervical cancer Medicaid project and S-CHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program).
Rep.. Engel said, "By keeping people healthy, the government saves money on expensive medical interventions, such as emergency care or hospitalizations. Also, new medications now allow people with HIV to remain in the workforce longer, and reduce the need for support from government income subsidy programs like SSI and SSDI. As we deal with our current economic crisis, legislation such as this will help not only to save lives, but to save money as well."
Rep.. Engel said cost savings, while not immediate, would take place over time. Early, effective treatment will limit the number of people whose health status progresses to full-blown AIDS and health care costs will be minimized. "Best of all, there will be a 50% decrease in lives lost to this terrible disease," added Rep. Engel.
The following 111 organizations support passage of the Early Treatment for HIV Act:
ACT UP Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
ACT UP Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
ADAP Working Group, Washington, D.C.
AID Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
AIDS Action, Washington, D.C.
AIDS Action Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
AIDS Alabama, Birmingham, AL
AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth, and Families, Washington, D.C.
AIDS Emergency Fund, San Francisco, CA
AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Chicago, IL
AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
The AIDS Institute, Washington, DC
AIDS Project Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
AIDS Project Rhode Island, Providence, RI
AIDS Services Foundation Orange County, Irvine, CA
AIDS Survival Project, Atlanta, GA
AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, Cleveland, OH
AIDS Treatment Data Network, New York, NY
AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, New York, NY
AIDS Volunteers of Northern Kentucky, Covington, KY
Africa Bridge, Inc., West Linn, OR
American Foundation for AIDS Research, Washington, DC
American Society of Addiction Medicine, Chevy Chase, MD
Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA
Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Washington, D.C.
Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, Washington, D.C.
AsUR Volunteer Services, Oakland, CA
Beaver County AIDS Service Organization, Aliquippa, PA
Belle Reve, New Orleans, LA
Bienestar, Los Angeles, CA
Catholic Charities CYO, San Francisco, CA
Communities Advocating for Emergency AIDS Relief (CAEAR Coalition), Washington, D.C.
Center for AIDS: Hope & Remembrance Project, Houston, TX
Center for Women Policy Studies, Washington, D.C.
Common Ground, Santa Monica, CA
Community Advisory Board of the Miriam ACTG, Providence, RI
Community Care Management, Johnstown, PA
Council on AIDS in Rockland, Rockland County, NY
Critical Path AIDS Project, Philadelphia, PA
District of Columbia Primary Care Association, Washington, D.C.
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Washington, D.C.
Family Service of Greater Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, LA
Florida Keys HIV Community Planning Partnership, Key West, FL
Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research, Brooklyn, NY
Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, San Francisco, CA
Gay Men's Health Crisis, New York, NY
Georgia AIDS Coalition, Inc., Snellville, GA
HAART, Baton Rouge, LA
HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two, Inc. (HAART), Baton Rouge, LA
HIV/AIDS Dietetic Practice Group, American Dietetic Association, Chicago, IL/Washington, D.C.
HIV/AIDS Women's Caucus of Long Beach and South Bay, Long Beach, CA
HIV/Hepatitis C in Prison Committee/California Prison Focus, San Francisco, CA
HIV Medicine Association, Alexandria, VA
HIVictorious, Inc., Madison, WI
HUG-ME Program at Orlando Regional Healthcare, Orlando, FL
Human Rights Campaign, Washington, D.C.
International AIDS Empowerment, El Paso, TX
Kitsap Human Rights Network, Silverdale, WA
Lifelong AIDS Alliance, Seattle, WA
Louisiana Lesbian and Gay Political Action Caucus, New Orleans, LA
Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, Los Angeles, CA
Lutheran Social Services of Northern California, San Francisco, CA Matthew 25 AIDS Services, Inc., Henderson, KY
Michigan Advocates Exchange, Ypsilanti, MI
Michigan Persons Living With AIDS Task Force, Okemos, MI
Montrose Clinic, Houston, TX
National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, Washington, D.C.
National Association of People With AIDS, Washington, D.C.
National Association for Victims of Transfusion-Acquired AIDS, Bethesda, MD
National Coalition for LGBT Health, Washington, D.C.
National Center on Poverty Law, Chicago, IL
National Health Law Program, Los Angeles, CA
National Minority AIDS Council, Washington, D.C.
New York AIDS Coalition, New York, NY
New York City AIDS Housing Network, New York, NY
NO/AIDS Task Force, New Orleans, LA
North Carolina Council for Positive Living, Raleigh, NC
Northern Manhattan Women & Children HIV Project, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Northland Cares, Flagstaff, AZ
Okaloosa AIDS Support and Informational Services (OASIS), Fort Walton Beach, FL
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Washington, D.C.
. Philadelphia FIGHT, Philadelphia, PA
Pierce County AIDS Foundation, Tacoma, WA
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Washington Office, Washington, D.C.
Primary Health Care, Inc., Des Moines, IA
Program for Wellness Restoration, Houston, TX
Project Inform, San Francisco, CA
Project Lazarus, New Orleans, LA
Provincetown AIDS Support Group, Provincetown, MA
Power of Love Foundation, San Diego, CA
Ryan White Title III Medical Providers Coalition
San Antonio AIDS Foundation, San Antonio, TX
San Francisco AIDS Foundation, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco HIV/AIDS Provider Network
Shelter Resources, Inc. d.b.a. Belle Reve New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
STOP AIDS Project, San Francisco, CA
Southern AIDS Coalition
Test Positive Aware Network, Chicago, IL
Title II Community AIDS National Network, Washington, D.C.
Treatment Action Group, New York, NY
Treatment Access Expansion Project, Washington, D.C.
United Communities AIDS Network, Olympia, WA
University of IOWA HIV Program, Iowa City, IA
Vermont People With AIDS Coalition, Montpelier, VT
Visionary Health Concepts, New York, NY
Whitman Walker Clinic, Washington, D.C.
Williamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick HIV CARE Network, Brooklyn, NY
Women Accepting Responsibility, Baltimore, MD
Women's HIV Collaborative of New York, New York, NY
WORLD, Oakland, CA
  icon paper stack View Older Articles   Back to Top